MILAN — Sinv SpA is diversifying its business model, and to that end, the Vicenza, Italy-based apparel manufacturer has bought the Piazza Sempione label.

This story first appeared in the March 7, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“This project marks the new course of Sinv, which is looking at strengthening its portfolio of fashion brands through partnerships,” said Sandra Spinacé, general director of Sinv and chief executive officer of Piazza Sempione. Sinv has a 30 percent stake in Moschino, the majority of which is controlled by Aeffe SpA, and produces the Love Moschino collection. Sinv also owns 40 percent of men’s ready-to-wear and accessories brand Luca Roda Srl and manufactures the See by Chloé collection under license.

Founded in 1975, Sinv, owned by the Dalla Rovere family, has over the years produced sportswear and casual lines under licensing agreements, including Voyage Passion, Krizia Jeans, JPG by Gaultier and DKNY Jeans for men and women in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

Spinacé said that licenses, generally for a short to medium time frame, “make a company vulnerable. We don’t disown our past and our history, but we must adopt more contemporary strategies, based on partnerships, to secure a long-term vision and prospects.” She said Sinv is “evaluating” other such partnerships.

The executive noted that Piazza Sempione’s Made in Italy exclusivity and international positioning were a draw for Sinv and saw these elements as “winning” for the future. The plan is to maintain the brand’s Italian essence and high-end positioning, she said. Piazza Sempione built its reputation on exclusive fabrics, including bi-stretch materials, and tailoring. The brand, designed by an in-house team, will not be manufactured by Sinv but by its own separate production network.

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“Sinv can contribute with its expertise and size, in terms of service and financial strength, but there is a diversification of business model here towards a medium-high range,” remarked Spinacé. There are no plans to expand into men’s wear.

Ambrogio Dalla Rovere, founder and ceo of Sinv, said the acquisition reflects the company’s development plans. Pointing to the “delicate moment of the global economy,” the purchase of the brand is in line with Sinv’s strategy “to continue to support the growth of brands and projects with a relevant international visibility, such as Piazza Sempione,” rescuing a high-value label.

The company is developing a three-year plan, and Spinacé declined to provide sales projections. She said Sinv will leverage Piazza Sempione’s “historical presence in the U.S., where there is a renewed interest from department and specialty stores,” and that it will return to its past key markets, such as the German-speaking area. “Italy is also important, despite the delicate economic moment,” she said, as well as the rest of Europe and the Far East. Distribution will mainly be wholesale, “slowly expanding into retail.”

Piazza Sempione was previously controlled by Luxemburg-based SLPS — a holding company including LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s private equity fund L Capital; the brand’s founders Marisa Guerrizio and Roberto Monti, and former ceo Enrico Morra. Named after the square where it was originally located, Piazza Sempione was founded in 1991. The husband-and-wife team of Monti and Guerrizio departed the company shortly after they sold it to L Capital in 2006. Hit by the financial crisis in 2011, in October 2012 the Milan-based company filed a petition for a composition with creditors with the court. In accordance with this procedure, in February last year, Piazza Sempione submitted a restructuring plan, including a proposal for renting the brand to Sinv for a year before then selling it to Sinv, which was accepted by both the court and the brand’s creditors. The total amount paid was “a formal sum” of 3.5 million euros, or $4.6 million at average exchange.

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